Former director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission, Professor Patrick Lumumba, addressed a number of issues plaguing Nigeria and Africa at large on Wednesday while speaking at Summit Of The Alternatives (SOTA) in Abuja. The professor spoke to the audience via Skype.
Lumumba said Nigeria ought to be the political Mecca or Jerusalem to which other Africans come for pilgrimage, but the dearth of leadership in Nigeria “is the missing link in Africa’s greatness. The time has come that we must recognize that what Nigeria does is important to Africa. Nigeria and Nigerian leaders must recognize that Nigeria ought to be the political Mecca or Jerusalem to which we pay pilgrimage or visit to pay homage,” he said.
‘When the Nigerian leader wakes up to this reality, Africa will be great. For you who know that Africa is a continent under siege, this is the time. This is the time for Nigeria to provide leadership in politics. This is the time for the Nigerian President, members of parliament and local leaders to liberate themselves and recognize that politics must be sanitized. It is time for Nigeria to know that her GDP must no longer be held down at $500 billion but at $3 trillion GDP economy.
It is time for Nigeria to begin the revival of her textile industry. Nigeria must make sure that her oil industry is levelled up so that she does not produce crude oil, export crude oil and import refined products. Nigeria must improve her agriculture.
This is the time that Nigeria must improve her healthcare (system) so that the president does not sojourn in foreign land on medical vacation. The time is now and if we don’t seize the moment, then we are doomed. Nigeria’s leadership is the missing link in Africa’s greatness.”
“Let me say without fear of contradiction that the only thing that continues to hold Nigeria down are the political elites who in my view have to liberate themselves from the politics of ethnicity and recognize that political leadership is a position of trusteeship,” the professor said.
They ought to recognise that when they lead Nigeria, they are also leading Africa. I want to submit to us that Nigeria occupies such an important position not only in Africa but in the world. On the few occasions that Nigeria has demonstrated leadership, the neighbours have been at peace and at ease.
Not so long ago, Liberia was in a throes of the civil war and the Nigerian political leadership provided the leadership to ECOWAS. Today, we can talk about a stable or stabilizing Liberia. When there was instability in Sierra Leone and Nigeria leaders came out and we can recognize that some sanity has been restored in Freetown.
At critical moments when the Green (Super) Eagles were soaring as they should, they were the pride of us. Whenever Nigeria has provided leadership, the African continent has always occupied her pride of place.”